10 Lessons from the roster cuts

The NFL is designed to create parity, to build up the lowly and to tear down the mighty: the draft, waivers, the salary cap. They all work against building a dynasty. What tricks does Veach have up his sleeve to keep the system from grinding his team into mediocrity?

Lesson 1: Lose the luxuries.

To misquote a great line: QB3s? We don’t need no stinking QB3s! Sorry, Shane Buechele. I liked you. I thought you crushed it the first 2 weeks of the preseason. But somehow it wasn’t good enough to make the Chiefs’ roster in 2023. Brett’s explanation was that they wanted to use the roster spot for some young guys at other positions. Tough break. Shane was "too old" to develop much further and "too young" to be the trusted veteran backup. NFL middle age stinks when you’re at the bottom of the roster. A QB3 was a "luxury" we couldn’t afford to roster this year. (As of this writing Chris Oladokun was on the PS.)

Lesson 2: Keep the essentials.

I’m not a big CEH fan. But we do need an RB3 we can trust. And we can trust CEH to do his assignment even with his limited athleticism (compared to NFL RBs, compared to me he’s an Olympian). He’s sort of like a "swing RB" in the sense that he can fill in for either Pacheco on running downs or McKinnon on passing downs. In CEH we trust.

Lesson 3: If you can’t have star power, have depth.

Kelce is our #1 pass-catcher even if he has TE next to his name. After him, we kept 7 WRs while several other teams only kept 4. During his press conference Mr. Veach explained that some WRs will be "core" players while others will be "package" players. In other words, the limits of some core players can be made up with the unique traits of the package players giving Andy a full complement of plays. Pat could be looking at another 5,000-yard season.

Lesson 4: Keep something in reserve.

Even though Veach tentatively said that he expects all the guys on the 53 to be ready for Week 1, there might be some injuries that haven’t fully healed. That means some guys got spots as insurance. Mike Caliendo making the roster over Darian Kinnard may be because of his C versatility AND concerns about Nick Allegretti’s shoulder. Neil Farrell may be a Chief because of CJ’s holdout AND Turk Wharton’s knee. Cam Jones may be a personal favorite of Uncle Dave AND insurance in case Leo Chenal isn’t 100%.

Lesson 5: Protect what’s most important to you.

The Great Wall of Mahomes has been built. SB LV will not happen again. The Chiefs are keeping 5 OT’s on the 53 this year: Jawaan Taylor, Donovan Smith, Prince Tega Wanogho, Wanya Morris, and Lucas Niang. Even if 2 go down there’s still a guy on the bench ready to step up. And that’s not counting Joe Thuney who can slide outside in an emergency. AND they’re keeping another 5 IOL, 3 starters and 2 3-way backups. They also have SB LIV starter Austin Reiter on the practice squad. That’s a lot of beef. Mahomes is going to stay upright this year if Andy and Brett have anything to say about it.

Lesson 6: Fail forward.

Joshua Kaindoh was an athlete who couldn’t get it together as a player. Now BJ Thompson’s clock begins. Can he become the next Haason Reddick? Darian Kinnard was scouted correctly by 31 other teams. He couldn’t play OT at the NFL level. Maybe he can’t even play G in the pros. Either way Wanya Morris and Mike Caliendo are getting a shot to show they belong at the next level.

Lesson 7: Out with the "old", in with the young… and hungry.

Deon Bush is a good player. Chamarri Conner is a younger player. Danny Shelton transformed his body and made some plays this preseason. Neil Farrell is younger. These "business decisions" in the NFL are painful on the personal level. Veach has learned that "run it back" doesn’t work. Instead, you gotta "turn it over" to stay young and hungry.

Lesson 8: Patience pays off.

Malik Herring has done next to nothing since he came to the Chiefs as a UDFA in 2021. But he’s on the team once again, and he looks ready to play after a solid preseason. 3 years of hard work have paid off: study, lifting, drills, watching and listening to veterans… Now he’s going to be in the rotation. Mike Caliendo came in as a UDFA just one year ago, and he’s been able to supplant 5th round pick Darian Kinnard. Then there’s Justyn Ross. This kid has been through the ringer. Lots of guys in his position would’ve quit a long time ago. Not Justyn. I’m very excited to see what he does this year. And I think this is also a testament to the training staff and position coaches. Keep working. Keep pushing. Keep getting better. The only way to lose is to quit.

Lesson 9: To find a diamond, look in the rough.

This year the Chiefs have 8 UDFAs on the roster: Winchester, Townsend, Wharton, Herring, Caliendo, Cochrane, Ross, and Cam Jones. They have 7-7th rounders: Butker, James (originally with 49ers), Allegretti, Pacheco, Ja. Watson, and Nic Jones. And they have 2 former draft picks who were cut by their teams: PTW and Darius Rush. Brett Veach is beating the bushes to make this team better. He will not quit. He just won the Super Bowl, and he and his staff were up until midnight making sure they didn’t miss anyone on the waiver wire. And they got Rush. That’s some serious work ethic.

Lesson 10: To stay rich, act like you’re poor.

On top of looking in the rough, Veach has also been pinching those pennies. The ISM trade is a case in point. Ihmir was cut twice already by other teams who did not win the Super Bowl. Veach found a way to flip him for a "conditional" 7thround trade-up. What is this condition? If the Chiefs’ pick is somehow lower than Carolina’s that it becomes a 6th? Or if ISM performs well it becomes a 6th? I think it’s more than the "possibility" of a 7th round swap. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic. That is my tendency. On top of that, Veach is "saving" Jerome Carvin, Olakunle Fatukasi, Nazeeh Johnson, and Nikko Remigio on IR. That’s a lot of future lottery tickets for the Chiefs: OL, LB, DB, WR. With Caliendo making it from last year’s practice squad, and Justyn Ross making it from IR, Veach is looking to do it again. I don’t think all of them will hit. Nazeeh should at least be a special teamer when he’s healthy again. Nikko could be catching passes in red and gold next year. Carvin could be a nice depth piece for the O-line if Allegretti and Donovan Smith both walk at the end of this year. I’m not too familiar with Fatukasi, but with how the Chiefs roll, it looks like he’ll be given every chance to make this team next year.

What did you learn from this year's roster cuts?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.